Instagram famously renews its social algorithms frequently, this year is no exception. This often leaves social media marketers, brands, agencies, or influencers alike to wonder when is the best time to post given the frequent algorithmic changes that serve content differently.
Posting at the “best time” allows your post to be shown to more audiences and if you strategize it well, it will be shown to the audience that will engage with your post. Unfortunately, the current algorithm is a challenge for businesses as it prioritizes posts from families and friends. This means that businesses need to post at a quieter time, while also posting at a time when people are online. To get a clear answer of when to post, here are the things you need to know about posting time, based on some of the research we compiled.
1. Every Research Yields Different Results
According to American marketer software, Hubspot, in January 2020, the best time to post is between 2 and 3 PM. They also named Thursday as the best day to post. However, Hubspot also stated that that isn’t necessarily the best time to post. For instance, on Thursday engagement can peak between 3-4 PM or 5 and 11 AM.
That’s just an example of how the results can vary. Other researches have shown different results as well:
Sprout Social: Wednesday at 11 AM and Friday at 10–11 AM
Expert Voice: Wednesday: 11 AM and 3 PM
Later: 9 AM-11 AM
But that’s not all. Each research shows a different time for the peak of engagement. For example, Sprout Social’s study shows that the highest engagement in a week comes from Tuesday to Friday as early as 5 AM. This is presumably caused by people checking their Instagram as soon as they’re awake. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has also shifted the best time to post. Sprout Social reported that during this time, the best time to post has shifted to Monday, Tuesday, and Friday at 11 AM, as well as Tuesday at 2 PM.
In conclusion, there is always the best time to post and the best time for engagement. The idea is to post right before people are likely to engage with the content and right when the number of online users is high.
2. Every Industry has its own Best Posting Time
HubSpot, Sprout Social, and most notably, Tailwind have done different studies that all show that the best time to post must be tailored to each industry and its target audience. This is why it is important to know your customers and audience first, before tailoring your social media posting schedules to them.
In the technology industry, for instance, HubSpot’s study showed that Wednesday at 10 AM is the best time to post on Instagram. While Tailwind found that Monday, Friday, and Sunday are the best days to post for technology companies, with Monday and Friday at 8 AM being the best time to generate comments and Sunday at 12 AM is the best time to receive most likes. Tailwind compiled their findings in this infographic*.
Rival IQ has also shown that COVID-19 has impacted the engagement rate of each industry whereas some industries are facing a decline.
3. Given Frequent Changes, the Best Time to Post Depends on the Latest Industry Insights
From the insights above you may find that the optimal posting times differ by time for engagement, by industry, and even by Instagram Likes versus Instagram Comments. These data are a great start to testing your best time to post, but there is always a chance that your business’ target audience has different preferences in browsing Instagram.
Instagram planning app, Later, studied 12 million business profiles across the globe and found that in order to personalize the best posting time on Instagram for your business is to analyze your audience. This includes demographics data such as location, age, and gender.
This is especially important when you are a global brand or a brand targeting a specific market. Such data allows you to target a specific timezone or a specific age group when you have a custom post of a product to target that market, or if you simply want to aim your post for the most engaging group of your followers. This data, that can be provided in detail by Instagram analytics, will also help you to keep track of your performance. Thus, you can easily know when Instagram has updated its algorithm and it’s time to change your posting time.
In regards to COVID-19, tracking your performance is more crucial than it has always been. This difficult time often requires brands to shift the content of their Instagram, for instance to more thoughtful content instead of promotional ones. This means that brands must measure the success of each new type of content to find out the best type and time to post.
Analisa.io provides these data that enable you to analyze your target audience’s shifting habits of using Instagram during this lockdown and export them into beautifully displayed reports. Additionally, it also allows you to analyze your competitors’ followers’ behavior if you intend to tap into their markets. Take a look at our profile and followers analytics here for insights into how Instagram analytics can help you adjust your social strategy to find the best time to post on Instagram during the coronavirus pandemic to maximize reach and engagement.